Houston SPCA caring for dogs seized from filthy trailer

Owner says circling UFOs made the animals unhealthy

Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

Dec. 13, 2008, 8:56PM

James Nielsen Chronicle

Dr. Dev Rajan, of the Houston SPCA, holds one of the terriers seized from a trailer in Fayette County earlier this month.

Houston SPCA veterinarian Roberta Westbrook lifted a trembling toy English fox terrier into her arms Saturday afternoon to examine the dog’s emaciated body.

The spine and ribs of the malnourished terrier were visible. The dog’s nails were overgrown and her tiny paws were soiled from living in her own feces. The dog was among 42 terriers brought to the Houston SPCA Friday from the Gardenia E. Janssen Animal Shelter in Fayette County.

Authorities in Fayette County seized the dogs on Dec. 3, after they were found living in a 5-by-9 foot trailer — eating, sleeping and giving birth in their own waste — with a woman who claimed the terriers were unhealthy because UFOs were circling above her home, said Houston SPCA spokeswoman Meera Nandlal.

“We don’t know if she was breeding them or why she was living with them in such a small space, ” Nandlal said.

Authorities in Fayette County could not be reached for comment on Saturday. It is unknown at this time if any charges will be brought against the woman.

The animal shelter enlisted the Houston SPCA’s help to house and care for the 40 dogs, some of whom are as old as 10. The terrier Westbrook was examining gave birth to two female puppies since she was removed from the trailer.

Most of the dogs are in poor physical condition. Two of them are missing limbs for unknown reasons.

“They could be purebred, but not the best standard,” Westbrook said.

All the dogs will undergo medical and behavioral evaluations. After being cleaned and treated, healthy dogs will be put up for adoption, Westbrook said, adding that those who need more time to recover will be placed in foster care.

The Houston SPCA often sees many large animal seizures, Nandlal said. Recently, the organization took in 70 feral cats.

“Unfortunately, it’s not unusual, ” she said. “There are all kinds of animals that are put into situations they have no control of.”

Little hope for Chile’s highway hero dog

Tue Dec 9, 9:19 pm ET

SANTIAGO, Chile – Chilean officials say they have lost hope of finding a dog whose attempted rescue of an injured animal inspired worldwide admiration.

Jorge Rivas, operations manager for Vespucio Norte Highway in Santiago, said police and highway workers had searched for the dog several times, “but not any more.”

He said too much time has passed since March 23, when a surveillance camera captured images of the apparently homeless dog pulling the body of another, injured dog through busy traffic to the relative safety of a freeway median strip. The other dog, which had been hit by vehicles, died.

Rivas said earlier reports that the incident happened on Dec. 4 were based on confusion with the date the image was first shown on local television.

Hundreds of thousands of people viewed the surveillance images on Web sites and television shows and Rivas said his agency received 15 calls over the weekend from people offering to adopt the dog.

Luis Serey, 59, a taxi driver who often uses the freeway, often says the video “was impressive. This dog is a hero. I hope he gets a new life, a home. He totally deserves it.”

Broadcast of the images came on the heels of an animal welfare scandal in the Chilean capital, where officials raided an Animal Protection Society accused of mistreating and killing dogs and cats in its care. Four employees of the society face charges of animal abuse.

Rex top dog in Charleroi

Rex top dog in Charleroi

By Chris Buckley
Monday, December 8, 2008Buz u!

CHARLEROI – Waiting for the start of a preliminary hearing, Officer William Gardner listened as two shackled suspects in orange jump suits described the latest scuttlebutt in the county jail.

“They said the people in jail are talking about Rex and how many people he’s apprehended,” Gardner said. “He’s putting fear into these druggies.”

Gardner has been with his new partner for less than six months, but he already knows that Rex has a nose for crime fighting – it goes with his paws and bushy tail. And Rex is helping take back the streets of Charleroi.

Charleroi is not the only community to utilize a canine unit. Monessen police Officer Jim Quattro and dog, Dax, have been patrolling the city for about a year.

In Monongahela, Officer Larry Maraldo and dog Bennie should be patrolling together this month.

Gardner said he is an animal lover and welcomed the opportunity to have “an extra tool” in making drug arrests.

He mentioned one day that he would be interested in becoming a canine officer and a month later, Superintendent Mike Matyas approached him about the idea.

Gardner and Mike Garrow, a Uniontown Police Department K-9 handler who lives in Charleroi, traveled to Battle Ridge Kennels in West Virginia, where they picked up Rex, a Belgian malinois from the Netherlands. Garrow tests animals before he trains them.

Dogs used in canine units are mostly Dutch shepherds, German shepherds or Belgian malinois, all similar breeds.

Rex was not yet 2 years old when Gardner began training with him under Garrow’s tutelage. The first phase of the training involved aggression training, and searches of clothing and buildings.

The second phase involves narcotics searches in which the animal learned various odors.

Initial training lasted three months, but is ongoing.

“We train every week still,” Gardner said. “It’s never ending. He’ll train for the rest of his life. There’s always something for him to learn.”

Training occurs at many locations throughout the Mid-Mon Valley including the Mon Valley Emergency Medical Service site in Monessen and Camp Haven in Monongahela.

Gardner gives Rex commands in a foreign language.

The dog lives with the Gardner family, which also owns a pug. The dogs get along.

“He knows the difference between being at home and being on the job,” Gardner said of Rex. “He’s playful at home, but I wouldn’t want to be anyone who would try to sneak into my home.”

A Ford Explorer is specifically designed for the canine unit. Rex has his own cage in the back of the vehicle. The windows are barred.

Gardner does not transport prisoners in the vehicle. He said it takes teamwork for the canine team to be effective. He credited Matyas and the department for that support, along with Garrow for training.

He thanked council for providing the dog and expressed hope Charleroi one day will add a second police dog.

The canine unit has proved effective. Since Rex’s first day on the job, he has taken part in seven building searches, assisted in 11 criminal apprehensions and helped make 51 drug arrests.

Rex also tracked one person wanted on an arrest warrant who tried to escape on foot and found two children who had wandered from home.

When someone attempts to flea on foot, Gardner takes Rex out of the police cruiser and advises them to stop or he will release the dog. They usually comply.

He has been called upon to help with crowd control, including a weekend night in downtown California.

“We bring Rex out and the people get going,” Gardner said.

He takes Rex to other communities on occasion to help out.

Gardner takes Rex on foot patrols and utilizes his skill in traffic stops, when the dog often finds illegal drugs.

“You’re not going to get away with drugs in the car with him, he’s going to find them,” Gardner said.

Recently, Gardner initiated a traffic stop involving an expired license plate. The driver was wanted in Philadelphia. When Rex searched the car, he located a compartment under the dashboard where a quarter pound of marijuana was hidden.

Another time, Gardner pulled over a car and the driver got out and began running. Two passengers were about to do the same when Gardner took Rex out of the vehicle.

The pair stopped dead and dropped to the ground. The driver did the same.

“He’s extra security the minute he gets in the car with me,” Gardner said. “I can’t put a value on how much crime he’s stopped.”

Dog Frozen; Animal Abuse or Stupidity

The spirit dog’s blog has a ‘gem’ of a story that he has discovered….. It makes me look around at ‘our’ species, ‘the human race’ in disbelief.

Does God sits up there wondering “what was  I thinking?”. . .


‘Hero Dog’ Pulls Injured Friend From Oncoming Traffic

If you’ve wondered if dogs possess a spirit or a conscience, or if they truly are able to think for themselves ?…

Do you wonder what really lies behind those soulful eyes of your pet?

Watch this following video for your answer….

And oh yes, when you are done start thinking about animal testing and dog fighting, animal cruelty etc…

Monday, December 08, 2008

Footage from a traffic camera overlooking a busy freeway in Santiago, Chile captured a dog performing a heroic act — pulling an injured friend from oncoming traffic.

The video, from Azteca America Colorado, shows an injured dog lying in the middle of a freeway after being hit by a car, while a rescue dog dodges traffic to run to its side. The rescue dog then drags the severely injured canine across lanes of traffic as cars swerve around it.

No motorists stopped to help either dog, but a highway crew arrives at the end of the video.

The translation of the announcer is as follows:

“These images seen from the surveillance cameras show a very common situation with our overpopulated highways. It is normal for us to see dogs run over. In the video, we can see this dog fighting for his life because he was run over by the vehicle.

“What is very touching is to see the very heroic actions of this other dog who is trying to pull him to the side of the highway. We are going to keep seeing things like this until we find a solution to the dogs living on the streets.”

Support for First Dog

mutts1901Support for First Dog
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Published: December 7, 2008

Soon after President-elect Barack Obama spoke at a news conference about getting his daughters a pet from an animal shelter because “a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me,” Patrick McDonnell, creator of the comic strip “Mutts,” leapt into action. He quickly devised six strips supporting shelter adoptions.
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King Features Syndicate

“I normally stay away from politics, but this was a perfect fit,” Mr. McDonnell wrote in an e-mail message.

The sequence, which begins on Monday, features Mooch the cat and Earl the dog, above, discussing the next first pet. “If the Obama household adopted a mutt,” Mr. McDonnell added, “it would make a huge statement.” “Mutts,” distributed by King Features Syndicate, appears in more than 700 newspapers worldwide and online at muttscomics.com.

Animals in Laboratories: the real story

by Anne Birthistle |

They say that if animals believed in the Devil, he would look like Man.

For animals that are caught up in the laboratory sciences, this must hold especially true.  Whether undergoing repeated poisonings in long-term toxicity testing, being scalded, crushed or otherwise mutilated in effort to simulate human injury or disease, or suffering psychological torture (such as the notorious Maternal Deprivation experiments, wherein puppies or baby primates are reared in isolation chambers and subjected to various terrors), the extent of the animal suffering caused by white-coated individuals is untellable.

In North America animal care committes are meant to oversee the animals used in research, but compliance is voluntary and even when in place the animals are hardly afforded any protection. In Canada, for example, the Canadian Council on Animal Care has specific guidelines for allowable scientific protocols. These includes Category of Invasiveness = E, which is defined as “Experiments causing severe pain near, at, or ABOVE the pain tolerance threshold of unanesthetized, conscious animals”.  In the last reporting year, 2006, over 100,00 animals in Canadian labs were made to undergo experimentation at this level.

There are literally thousands of forward-looking scientists and other health-care professionals throughout the world who argue that the use of animals in science is not productive to the discovery of cures for human maladies.  Irwin J. Bross, former head of research design and analysis at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute, famously reported that scientists have been going down blind alleys for over two centuries now in effort to cure cancer.  “From a scientific standpoint, what are called animal model systems in cancer research have been a total failure….There is no animal model system which resembles the human cancer process.” Dr. Bross also notes: “Not a single important new drug for the treatment of human cancer was first detected from an animal system.  All of the drugs in wide current clinical use were placed in animal model systems only after clinical clues to their chemotherapeutic possibilities had already been found. Thus, the tens of millions of animals killed in the mass screening for new cancer drugs died in vain.”

Similarly, the cure for childhood leukemia came about despite the lab research, when clinicians returned to the traditional Vinca alkoids and ignored the animal-based scientific data which had stymied their progress

In Europe, and slowly but surely in the U.S., it is being realized that toxicity testing works better without the use of animals.  We can test up to 2500 chemicals, at 15 different exposure levels, in one afternoon, through the alternative approach of mixing chemicals with human cells, and then using robotic machinery to detect in only minutes cell death or other signs of harm – a process which formerly took 30 years to do. Why persist in forcing animals to ingest or absorb massive doses of toxic, caustic or lethal substances when such exciting and infinitely more reliable alternatives exist?

We have come late to the acknowledgement that for all its benefits, science has significantly harmed our environment, our human health, the very food we eat and the products we use. It needs now to be understood that just because we’ve always done it doesn’t mean that we should continue to use animals in research.  It’s time we made science make sense.